Kundalini yoga is one of many yoga traditions that is available to the public, but it is doesn't receive as much attention as other schools of yoga. Here's what you need to know about Kundalini yoga if you are looking to try a new yoga style.
The Spiritual Philosophy of Kundalini Yoga
Kundalini yoga is a more spiritually-oriented form of yoga than most. Kundalini is a spiritual energy that resides at the base of the spine when dormant. The word kundalini is derived from the Sanskrit adjective kundalin, which means, “circular” or “ringlike.” For this reason, Kundalini is often depicted as a coiled-up snake when resting. Kundalini is also associated with the feminine aspects of the self that reside in everyone regardless of gender orientation.
While many seasoned yoga adherents like Gale Tobin are familiar with the concept of chakras, Kundalini yoga's conceptualization of this well-known tantric element is quite unique. Essentially, the aim of Kundalini yoga is to align your chakras by prompting the serpentine energy to pass through each chakra as it slithers up your spine.
It is believed that a “Kundalini awakening,” a kind of spiritual enlightenment, can be achieved through regular engagement in Kundalini yoga.
How to Practice Kundalini Yoga
A Kundalini yoga class is made up of three integral parts: A chant and an exercise to warm up your spine, a series of breathing techniques and physical movements known as a kriya, and a song or meditation to close out the session.
The purpose of a kriya is to promote mindfulness by combining breathing exercises, also known as pranayama, with movements, postures, and verbal mantras. The practitioner is also given some time between each series to meditate and reflect on the kriya that was just completed.
It is customary but not required for attendants to wear white clothing, which is believed to provide protection from malevolent forces and to promote the expansion of the wearer's personal aura. Instructors often wear a white piece of cloth on their heads to keep their Kundalini energy inside themselves.
How Kundalini Yoga May Help You in Everyday Life
The mindfulness techniques that are indispensable to the practice of Kundalini yoga promote self-awareness and help to reduce stress. If you are a busy person with a lot on your plate and little time to focus on yourself, Kundalini yoga may be ideal for you. Kundalini yoga may also be beneficial for people with anxiety-driven disorders because of its grounding nature.
No matter your reason for joining a Kundalini yoga class, you can rest assured that you will benefit from what it has to offer.